IMDB Score – 6.7
Rotten Tomato Score – 48%
Directed By – José Padilha
Starring – Joel Kinnaman, Gary Oldman, Michael Keaton, Abbie Cornish, Jackie Earle Haley, Michael K. Williams, Jennifer Ehle, Jay Baruchel, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Samuel L. Jackson
In 2028 Detroit, when Alex Murphy (Joel Kinnaman) – a loving husband, father and good cop – is critically injured in the line of duty, the multinational conglomerate OmniCorp sees their chance for a part-man, part-robot police officer.
I’m going to start off this review a little differently. The following quote was pulled from the trivia section of IMDB for this film…
During production of the film, director José Padilha phoned friend and fellow Brazilian director Fernando Meirelles to confide in him his frustration in the lack of creative control he was allowed by the studio for the project. Padilha estimated that for every ten ideas he brought to the project, the studio refused nine, and went on to the describe the making of the film as “The worst experience of [his] life”. When word of this conversation became public, in an effort to appease the studio Padilha released counter statements expressing satisfaction with the film.
The reason I quote this is because I’m about to rip this film a new asshole. It was a piece of garbage and anybody involved in making it should be ashamed. It’s not that I just didn’t like it. It was so poorly constructed, acted, edited, and written that it seemed like the entire production team made this on the weekends when they were occupied with something else. The fact that they put this remake in the hands of a first time screenwriter shows how much effort they were willing to put into this. José Padilha is a director I admire. His Elite Squad films and documentary Bus 174 are fantastic gritty stories that up the realism and don’t hold anything back. I feel bad for the man who came to Hollywood hoping to hit a mainstream audience and he’s going to look like a fool now because of inept studio interference getting in the way of his creativity. What a waste of talent. Shame on those studios. This is why I give José Padilha a pass on this one. He should keep making excellent Brazilian films where he has complete control. There are going to be a lot of people who will seek out his films. He doesn’t need Hollywood bullshit.
That being said, the movie was atrocious. I don’t even know where to start. I guess the first order of business is the one thing we knew would hold the film back, the PG-13 rating. I know that direct adaptions are kinda lame. The original “RoboCop” was violent as hell and why the story was still a basic Frankenstein re-imagining, it was fun as hell. This remake wasn’t fun. This remake wasn’t even a little bit fun. I didn’t laugh. I didn’t think any of the effects were cool. I didn’t find a single thing enjoyable except for the wonderful Gary Oldman who tried his best to make anything in this film work. I think that may be a biased statement, but he didn’t do anything wrong with this role. Another slight positive was just the notion that it’s nice to see Michael Keatons face on the big screen again. He wasn’t very impressive but it was still great to see. The rest of the cast were horrid. Abbie Cornish shouldn’t act. Her attempts at being an anxiety filled house wife were laughable. Joel Kinnaman should stick to television. He just doesn’t have the face, voice, or presence to command a film. He’s a supporting actor at best. It was nice seeing Michael K. Williams in a role that isn’t Omar from “The Wire” but the lines his character was given were so corny that it was like a ten year old in the back room of a studio came up with them while playing cops and robbers with his imaginary friend Steve. The whole cast besides Oldman failed on a major level.
I couldn’t stand the writing. They spent almost two thirds of the film setting up the development of RoboCop only to realize that they haven’t developed any conflict yet and just shoved a villain in at the last second. Again, it is a remake so I’m not spoiling anything but if you’ve never seen the original film you would be very confused as to why Michael Keaton all of a sudden became a villain. It was that sudden. The film also revealed all these different plot twists with corrupt cops and completely forgot about closing that part of the story. A major character is revealed to be an asshole and then the scene ends and we hear nothing of it, or see that character again for the entire rest of the film. You could land a space shuttle through these holes. It was laughable.
Oh, I nearly forgot about Samuel L. Jackson. His character was one of the most annoying characters I’ve ever seen in a film. He acted like a segmented narrator throughout the film giving comments on what we just saw while doing so in a fashion that was abrasive and obnoxious. They also just HAD to throw in him saying “motherf*cker”. They had to do it. It was entirely distracting and stupid.
The action was also just poorly done. There was no sense of danger or intensity. It was bland, quick cutting PG-13 video game slop. I actually almost fell asleep during the big set piece at the end. That’s how boring it was.
Don’t waste you time seeing this film. It’s a mistake that should never have happened and was sabotaged from the beginning. If you want to see good work from José Padilha then check out his previous films. This is something he will be forgetting and I will be too.